Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date: June 17, 1937
Name: Sarah Eldora Cruce Bousman (Mrs.)
Post Office: Waurika, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: December 25, 1859
Place of Birth: Choctaw Nation
Father: Tom Cruce
Place of Birth: Virginia
Information on father:
Mother: Katherine Rutledge
Place of birth: Choctaw Nation
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Ethel V. Elder
Volume XVI, Pages 38-43
I was born December 25, 1859 in the Choctaw Nation.
I am one quarter Choctaw Indian. My fathers name was Tom CRUCE; he
was born in Virginia. My mothers name was Katherine RUTLEDGE; she
was born in the Choctaw Nation. She died March 1915 and is buried
at Jacks. My mother was a Choctaw Indian. About fifty-six years
ago I was married to Louis Phillip BOUSMAN at Taxcosa, Texas. We
came to Oklahoma in the early days and settled close to a little
town called Fleetwood. We had four children born to us and two of
the girls are married, one living close to us and the other living
in the house with me.
My husband was Deputy United States Marshal and Ranger, when we
came to Oklahoma. We did some farming and cattle raising, but not
very much as he was away from home a great deal of the time.
We raised lots of watermelons, peas, hogs, some cattle, corn for
our own use, geese, chickens, and some turkeys, collards, cabbage
and white potatoes.
Then we gathered the potato crop they were gathered like we gather
peanuts today; all were left on the bush until we were ready to use
We made all our moccasins out of very soft leather; we beaded them
and all the work was done by hand.
All our clothes were made out of deer hides and for thread after
the deer was shot we would rip the legs open and take the sinews
out and rip them into threads and after they were dried and
seasoned, they were ready for use. We could not tear them apart
after they were made as this thread is so very strong.
We used the bark and leaves from different kinds of trees for
various ailments, also the berries from the sumach tree and all
kinds of wild roots.
DYES AND PAINTS
Our dyes and paints were made from the different kinds of clay and
some were made from the wild berries and some of the leaves were
BASKETS AND POTTERY
There was a certain kind of weeds and a certain kind of clay that
we would make all our baskets and pottery out of; it would take it
a long time to dry so that we could use it without cracking.
We also would make our pots, to cook in over the fireplace out of
BUCKETS AND CHURNS
Our buckets and churns were made out of hickory; we used the best
part of the large cedar trees; after a very large hickory tree was
cut down, we cut our churns and buckets and worked hard to get them
very smooth and then when they were seasoned just right, we put
them together with brass hoops and they would last a long time.
WASH TUBS AND BOARDS
Our tubs were made out of hickory, too, and we would have the
largest trees cut down to make the wash tubs out of; we would
hollow the trees out as deep as we wanted them and then cut them
down as smooth as we could, sometimes we made two tubs out of the
same log with just a division between.
When we wanted to use an iron, we called it a sad iron. We would
put what we called a trivet over the coals in the fire place to
heat the irons and it would keep the irons from getting smutty.
When the Indians began to live in the houses they would not have
the rooms joined together; they had the rooms with the beds in them
all off away from the cook shack and after everybody was up in the
morning the rooms were cleaned and the beds were all made up and
then the rooms were closed until time to go back to bed at night
and if anybody wanted to lie down he would get his blanket and go
out under a tree or in the shade of the house.
The cook shack was used all day to cook in; we could eat and stay
there all day if we wanted to and this room was away from the rest
of the rooms quite a distance. We did all our cooking over the
fireplace with clay pots and kettles made from clay and weeds, or
mud and weeds. The Indians never used salt on anything they eat.
Sometimes they would want to cook their meats differently so they
would get a long stick and sharpen the end and hold the meat over
the fire and cook it that way until it was about done then they
would have a feast.
CHURCH AND SCHOOLS
We would go to church once a month when the preacher came around to
hold services; we called him the Circuit riding preacher. If any
couple wanted to get married they always had to wait until he came
Then in the week time we would have school and the white children
would go half day and the Indian children would go half day. When
the teacher would call on any of the Indian children to answer a
question, she never could get them to say one word, not even make a
grunt, they always looked like they were scared to move, so the
teacher never did know whether they were learning anything or not.
Oxen were used to do all the plowing and heavy work and hauling up
the large logs when we wanted to make any thing; if we wanted to go
any great distance we would ride in the ox cart or wagon, whichever
was hitched up.
Our houses had dirt floors mostly; we had to keep them swept clean
all the time. If we wanted a floor in any room they would cut down
a pine or cypress tree, cut the logs the length needed and then saw
them half in two long ways and turn the sawed side up and then use
flint rock to smooth the logs off or make up a sand mixture of some
kind and work hard until the floors were white and smooth; we
called them puncheon floors.